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Policeman in Gwent sacked for skipping shifts to see boyfriend

Sergeant Lee Stephens, 42, deserted his duty on 12 shifts

A hero policeman honoured by David Cameron for rescuing six people from a burning building has been sacked for skipping shifts to see his boyfriend.

Sergeant Lee Stephens, 42, deserted his duty on 12 occasions to drive home or to a hilltop cafe to spend time with his new partner.

But he was caught out when senior officers checked the GPS on his police car – and discovered he was 16 miles away from his station.

Stephens won a police bravery award in 2011 presented to him by then Prime Minister David Cameron for helping rescue a family of six from a burning building.

But his 13-year police career was ended after it was discovered he was bunking off for up to an hour and 40 minutes at a time.

Stephens said he was skiving because his partner was dealing with some personal problems – but a picture he put on Facebook showed them ‘smiling and happy’.

He admitted he may have kissed or hugged his lover while meeting up with him at the picturesque Caerphilly Mountain cafe near Cardiff.

A disciplinary hearing was told Stephens went missing while he was in charge of a team of ten officers based in Bargoed, Gwent, in South Wales.

Stephens went missing while he was in charge of a team of ten officers based in Bargoed, Gwent, in South Wales

Stephens went missing while he was in charge of a team of ten officers based in Bargoed, Gwent, in South Wales

Stephens won a police bravery award in 2011 presented to him by then Prime Minister David Cameron for helping to rescue a family of six from a burning building

Stephens won a police bravery award in 2011 presented to him by then Prime Minister David Cameron for helping to rescue a family of six from a burning building

Prosecutor Barnabas Branston told the hearing: ‘He was there to supervise and do everything that supervision involves, he was there to set an example.

‘He has epically failed in his role as a police officer, he was there to provide support.

‘It was not a one-off, it was not an emergency. If it was a one-off it could have been justified.

‘He pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes, he does not have integrity whatsoever because he does what he wants.’

The sergeant was bunking off for up to an hour and 40 minutes at a time to 'help his partner' cope with some personal problems

The sergeant was bunking off for up to an hour and 40 minutes at a time to ‘help his partner’ cope with some personal problems

Stephens was in full uniform and drove a marked police car during his secret meetups, the hearing was told

Stephens was in full uniform and drove a marked police car during his secret meetups, the hearing was told

The hearing was told Stephens was in full uniform and drove a marked police car during his secret meetups. 

Father-of-two Stephens admitted to four allegations of misconduct. He told the hearing that his partner was having problems due to a previous relationship.

He said: ‘I thought I could juggle personal issues with work and looking back now I realise I couldn’t do both.

Father-of-two Stephens said: 'I thought I could juggle personal issues with work and looking back now I realise I couldn't do both'

Father-of-two Stephens said: ‘I thought I could juggle personal issues with work and looking back now I realise I couldn’t do both’

‘I was juggling both my family and my partner. If I know what I had done now I would have accessed a GP and got some time off work. I have let my team down.’

An independent panel found Stephens had committed gross misconduct on two allegations and was ‘dishonest and lacked integrity’.

Panel chairman Peter Jones said Stephens’ disappearances meant that ‘confidence could not be maintained in his ability to serve as a police officer.’

Stephens, who was said to be ‘professional and hard-working’, was dismissed without notice from his £41,000-a-year job with Gwent Police. 



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